An East Syracuse man admitted that he made a harassing phone call to an attorney who has filed a sexual harassment suit against the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department.
Rodney C. Sanford, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday in Hounsfield Town Court to aggravated harassment. Sentencing was set for Sept. 27.
Mr. Sanford was charged May 22 with making a threatening phone call in April to Sackets Harbor attorney Charu Narang. Ms. Narang had filed a state Supreme Court lawsuit against the department on behalf of Deputy Krystal G. Rice claiming Detective Stephen C. Cote took topless photographs of the deputy for a pedophile sting. The photos were not used and have disappeared, it is alleged in the suit.
Days after the suit was filed, Ms. Narang reported that a male had called her and warned her she would be unable to drive in the county without being halted by sheriffs patrols and it would become difficult for her to practice law in the state. State police investigated the matter and, after charging Mr. Sanford, determined that he had no ties to the sheriffs department or any law enforcement agency and had acted alone in placing the call.
With his guilty plea, Mr. Sanford also stated on the record that he was acting of his own volition and had not been told to call Ms. Narang by anyone connected to the sheriffs department.
Deputy Rices lawsuit, which remains pending, claims she was taken to a secluded location in 2006 and photographed in little or no clothing without another female officer present. She is claiming, among other things, intentional infliction of emotional distress because she is unable to determine who may have viewed the photos or whether they still exist, and a breach of duty by the departments administrators for, among other things, not informing her that topless photos should not be taken of her or that other photos should not be taken away from the office. The suit seeks $50 million in damages.